The latest revision of the Asus Eee PC line, the 1008HA (also called the "Seashell"), is finally coming to the U.S., according to Asus. The revised model, recently released in the U.K., looks to be a fairly major overhaul of the Eee PC, with a slimmer design and a weight less than 2.5 pounds. CNET UK recently reviewed the 1008HA, and said:
"(The 1008HA) is a small, light, and sexy device aimed at the fashion-conscious Netbook fan who puts portability slightly above performance...The glossy black finish, the gently tapering lid, and the wedge-shaped profile all contribute to an overall design that's more aesthetically pleasing than that of rival Netbooks."
We got a sneak hands-on peek at the 1008HA earlier in May, and it's definitely the best-looking Eee PC yet (see pics after the jump). We liked the tapered design, along with the thin 10-inch LED display, and slightly faster Intel Atom N280 (most Netbooks have the N270).
The smaller chassis necessitates some compromises, and many of the ports are recessed into tiny pockets, hidden by flaps, including the video output, which requires a mini-VGA-to-VGA adapter. Also worth noting--the battery is of the non-removable type, to allow it to fit into the extra-slim body. Fortunately, the keyboard seems to have gotten plenty of attention, and we especially liked its full-size right shift key.
The Eee PC 1008HA will cost $429--which is close enough to our $399 sweet spot for Netbooks to be a contender--but keep in mind that Dell's just-announced $299 Mini 10v has potentially shifted the conventional wisdom on Netbook pricing.
Also newly announced from Asus are a pair of mainstream laptops, including one with Intel's new CULV (consumer ultra-low voltage) processor. The $1,199 UX50 uses the 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Solo SU3300 in a 15.6-inch 16:9 chassis, with a backlit keyboard and Nvidia's new G105M mobile graphics chip. The 14-inch U80V has a traditional Core 2 Duo T9550, along with ATI's HD4570 graphics, a backlit keyboard, and a cool-looking illuminated touchpad, all for $899.
After the break, more pics of the 1008HA, along with the UX50 and U80V.